Labour MPs make up brunt of rebels in Commons vote

Prime Minister David Cameron speaking about military action against IS in the House of Commons

Prime Minister David Cameron speaking about military action against IS in the House of Commons

3
Have your say

LABOUR is picking up the pieces after a Muslim shadow Minister resigned and a key aide was sacked following the vote to bomb militants in Iraq.

Labour MPs made up the majority of the 43 rebels as 524 MPs, including the Labour front bench, voted for air strikes on extremist fighters.

Labour's Rushanara Ali resigned from the party's front bench in order to abstain in the vote against military action in Iraq.

Labour's Rushanara Ali resigned from the party's front bench in order to abstain in the vote against military action in Iraq.

MPs backed limited action in Iraq only after hearing the Prime Minister make the case for supporting an Arab-backe​d coalition attacking the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis, also known as Isil).

Some 24 Labour MPs voted against the motion, including six from across Yorkshire. Six Conservati​ve MPs and one Liberal Democrat were also on the “no” list.

One of Ed Miliband’s frontbench team last night resigned as a shadow Minister because she was unwilling to vote for British involvemen​t in air strikes.

Rushanara Ali said she shared other MPs’ revulsion at the “horrific and barbaric” actions of Isil but was concerned that military action would create further bloodshed for the people of the Middle East.

The Bethnal Green and Bow MP was appointed a frontbench spokeswoman on education last year, having previously served as shadow Minister for international development.

In a letter to Mr Miliband ahead of the vote on Iraq, Ms Ali said: “I understand the case that has been made and will not be voting against the motion. But I am unable in conscience to support the motion and I will make a deliberate abstention.”

And Labour MP Iain McKenzie was sacked as parliamentary aide to Shadow Defence Secretary Vernon Coaker after he voted against military action.

The Yorkshire MPs who voted “no” included George Galloway, Austin Mitchell, Linda Riordan, Barry Sheerman, George Mudie and Mike Wood.

Mr Sheerman told The Yorkshire Post: “I just was not convinced by the arguments David Cameron set out. I do not want us stuck in a situation like with Israel, where you have schools and hospitals bombed. I did not hear a clear plan for how we get out of this.”

Leeds MP Greg Mulholland, who backed the motion, said he was among those who marched against the 2003 Iraq war.

“However, this situation could not be more different. A democratic sovereign state has asked us for help to deal with one of the most unpleasant terrorist forces that we have ever seen,” he added.

“There is a clear legal case for action, and there is an overwhelming moral case not simply to sit and watch the appalling scenes on television. As a nation – I am pleased that many members have acknowledged this – we now accept that we have a responsibility precisely because of the mistake of going into Iraq in the first place.”

Among those who ether abstained or did not attend were Shipley Tory Philip Davies and Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis as well as Elmet and Rothwell MP Alec Shelbrooke.

For Labour the list included Hull MPs Alan Johnson and Diana Johnson.

Mr Miliband agreed that the UK “cannot simply stand by” but reiterated his view that any move to extend air strikes into Syria should be supported by a UN Security Council resolution.

“In my view, when we are not talking about being invited in by a democratic state it would be better – I put it no higher than that – it would be better to seek a UN Security Council resolution,” he said.

Back to the top of the page